Q&A about CaRCC’s new membership management tool

In the coming weeks, CaRCC will begin using a new software tool called Wild Apricot to help manage our rapidly growing membership lists, and help us communicate with you more effectively.  Wild Apricot will allow members to have greater personal control over the information they present to and receive from the CaRCC community.

Wild Apricot will not be replacing Google Drive,  Google Groups, or Slack. Although CaRCC membership lists, mailing lists, and event registrations will become centrally initiated and managed using Wild Apricot, the new system will generate and populate a Google Group –  and CaRCC will continue to use Google for document sharing, storage, and email lists as we always have.  

The following Q&A will help answer your questions about what the change means for you.

Why does CaRCC need Wild Apricot? 

CaRCC has grown rapidly in size and complexity in the last two years alone, adding many new interest groups and committees. Each group currently maintains its own separate list, typically in Google Groups or Google Sheets. While this method was adequate when CaRCC was smaller, it has become problematic now that CaRCC has more than 1400 people involved. There is no easy way for CaRCC members to manage their involvement in the various CaRCC groups and activities, and no central way to opt in and out of CaRCC mailing lists. 

I am a member of the People Network and/or another CaRCC group(s). What does this change mean for me? 

In a few weeks, you will be sent a message letting you know that your Wild Apricot account has been created and inviting you to log in and set your own password. We will automatically create accounts for everyone on our existing lists. 

Using your new account, you will be able to edit information like your name, title, professional affiliation, and upload a photo or avatar, if you wish. You will be able to review and change your CaRCC group and list memberships at any time. Your Wild Apricot account will also allow you to quickly and easily register for CaRCC events.

I currently manage a mailing list or lead a CaRCC group or committee. What does this change mean for me?

As a CaRCC chair or coordinator, you will be given access to Wild Apricot to manage membership. The biggest change is that members of your group will be added, removed, and managed using Wild Apricot rather than using a spreadsheet or directly editing your Google Group. Wild Apricot will be configured to automatically manage your Google Group. Group members will have the ability to remove themselves from a group via email or the Google Groups interface (this will also be updated in Wild Apricot), or you can remove them as a Wild Apricot admin. However, you will still have a Google Group and Google will remain the way you communicate with your group and manage access. 

We will communicate detailed instructions once all lists are imported and Wild Apricot is ready to be used. 

What if I stop getting CaRCC Emails?

Although we are doing our best to avoid disruption, it is possible some individuals may get unintentionally dropped from the email lists during this transition. In order to get added back, you can simply resubscribe via Wild Apricot. This is most likely to happen when people have either changed institutions, or their institution has migrated to Google at some point and the individual had a Google account with the same email address (you were subscribed with a @gtempacocunt.com address). 

What does Wild Apricot Do? 

Wild Apricot is Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) software designed for use by nonprofit membership organizations. It provides a number of features, including: 

  • Central membership database management with group segmentation
  • Access for members to customize their accounts
  • Targeted mailing list creation
  • Email and newsletter templates for more automated and professional communications
  • Tools to customize communications to a member’s individual interests and preferences
  • Membership and communication analytics and reporting features, to aid in strategic decision-making
  • Event registration and management tools
  • Volunteer recruitment and coordination tools

Why was Wild Apricot selected? 

We evaluated several different CRM systems based on the following criteria, and Wild Apricot was chosen for the following reasons: 

  • Wild Apricot is specifically designed for small to medium-sized nonprofit membership organizations like CaRCC, had the features we needed, and required minimal customization
  • It has a more intuitive user interface than other systems we evaluated
  • As a product developed for use by nonprofit organizations, Wild Apricot is more affordable than most CRM options, while still offering the features most valuable to CaRCC.